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All,

Need some advice on riding up a steep hill. Do you get off the saddle, put all your body weight to the front and what gear do you set it on?

I tried going up a pretty steep hill last weekend, got off the saddle and my uppper body was above the handlebar and I just felt like my front kept bobbing up above the ground and when i almost reached the peak I thought I was going to pop up from the front. What am I doing wrong?
 

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When you're going up a steep hill, don't lean forward too much or you won't get good traction with your back wheel, especially if you have a squishy front fork. I lean forward a little, choose my gear wisely (which can only really come with knowing your bike and your style) and dig in. I don't come off the seat usually, but that may just be me. Hope I helped.

Nick
 

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Old man on a bike
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I rarely stand when I climb except on my road bike (and more for the gearing I run). If I do stand, it's usually a fairly short climb that I want to power up without shifting, long climbs for me are about sitting and spinning. If you do stand, don't put your weight so far forward as to lose traction on the rear wheel. Some front forks bob a lot when standing.
 

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Here's how I do it....but stronger climbers probably don't do it this way:

I shift looow, keep my butt on the seat, lean forward just a bit and just spin. I try to keep my cadence as steady as possible and get in a good rhythm.
 

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bi-winning
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Don't feel you need to stay planted in the saddle all the time though. Different riders have different styles. Some stand on climbs that others would stay in the saddle for.

If the climb is really steep, try moving towards the nose of the saddle, and keeping your upper body pretty low and forward.
 

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local trails rider
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When a climb gets steep, it often becomes a balancing act between keeping the front tyre on the ground and keeping enough weight on the rear for traction. Usually, it is easier sitting down (maybe sitting on the tip of the saddle and leaning forward). If you have to stand (like me on singlespeed or if the gear is too tall to turn seated and there's no chance to shift), maintaining traction becomes more difficult: pedaling smoothly while standing up takes a bit of practice.
 

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just pick a good gear that you can really put some torque down without the back tire spinning out.

oh, and i'm hardly ever seated on climbs (or ever for that matter)... so learn what you like the best, dont just sit or stand because someone says its "better". the best way to ride is the way you want to.............
 

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Being really new myself, I had the thought that setting up before the really steep section would be best. I get into a really low gear early even if it slows me down a bit before the steep part, that way its all about front/rear weight dist. and pedalling hard.

I am not experienced enough to be trying to shift on a reall hard pull and standing up has meant spinning out for me.

I may not be the first guy up the hill but I just try to be smooth and steady.


Great info here that I will be applying on my ride this evening.
 

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Steepest hills are in second chain ring and granny, or granny up front and third or fourth in the back.

Stand and mash down, and pull up for all you are worth.

You have to move your butt back to maintain traction, this makes it harder to pedal but if you slip you are done.

I have come to a complete stop (unable to pedal any steeper, havn't lost traction), done a track stand stepped off and slid back down cause the shoes couldn't grip the ground...
That would indicate one gear lower, still havn't got to granny cause I can't maintain traction.

This is on steep clay (hardpack).
 

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Sometimes a climb includes spots where you need a burst of speed: a loose spot with no traction or an obstacle. Then a too low gear might mean you walk the rest of the way.
 

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Nutzer said:
All,

Need some advice on riding up a steep hill. Do you get off the saddle, put all your body weight to the front and what gear do you set it on?

I tried going up a pretty steep hill last weekend, got off the saddle and my uppper body was above the handlebar and I just felt like my front kept bobbing up above the ground and when i almost reached the peak I thought I was going to pop up from the front. What am I doing wrong?
I don't know that you did anything wrong. Some hills are so steep that you encounter this.
You must keep the rear wheel traction or you wash out and stop...but you need to keep the front end planted too. So you strike a balance. If you go too far forward your rear loses traction, if you go too far back your front pops up. Both situations will end your uphill progress (and often begin downhill progress on some body part).
At some point you reach a point where you are on the cusp of both losing rear traction AND going over backwards. The only way to get up something like that is with momentum (so that rear traction doesn't matter as much)...or you get off and push it.

If your hill wasn't too awful steep you just need to learn the right balance point with your bike on that particular hill.
 
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